Over 7000 people
congregate to remember the Martyrs on the Martyr's
day (16/12/2004) at Baghrijhola, Kashipur, despite intimidation and
by armed police and company goons
All left and Progressive parties Delegation including MLAs prevented
Goons and Police to reach and address Martyr's Days
function at Baghrijhola, Kashipr
Dr. Jean Martinez-Alier and
team from London (led by Ms. Noam and four
others) harassed and stopped from participating in the Martyr's day
in Baghrijhola, Kashipur
Dharana in front of the Orissa Legislative Assembly, Bhubaneswar in
solidarity with Kashipur
Bhagabat Prasad Rath, noted Gandhian, threatened by the
police for sheltering Dr. Martinez-Alier
Over seven thousand people gathered at Baghrijhola on Martyr's day
to remember Abhilash, Damodar and Raghunath who were
shot dead by the
police in Maikanch on the same date four years back and resolved to
"drive Utkal Alumina out of Kashipur,
no matter what the price they
may have to pay". People from all over Kashipur valley came even
though police had established
checkpoints in all the villages and were
intimidating people not to go for the meeting. We have only received
this much information through telephone and are waiting for further
information. It is not possible to get fax from
Kashipur area as all
the telephone/fax kiosks are under police surveillance.
II. As reported
earlier, the all left and progressive party delegation
was attacked by the goons led by Girish Patro of Kashipur (a paid
of UAIL for the last three years), Damburu Naik (local goon and
contractor working with UAIL) and Zilla Parishad member
of BJD Binod
Naik (he has been indicted by the JusticeP K Mishra Commission for
filing the false FIR on 15/12/2000,
on basis of which the police
reportedly went to Maikanch village on 16/12/2000 and resorted to
firing). The Police led
by the SP Sanjay Kumar encouraged the goons
and stood by as the delegation's vehicles were stoned and damaged. All
happened right in front of the police station. Then the
delegation was detained inside the police station, while the company
were standing outside and shouting slogans against the
delegation. Finally the delegation was forced by the police to return
Rayagada. (the fax message detailing the delegation's experience is
given as annexure)
who had gone to cover the Martyr's day program were
also attacked in Tikiri by the same goons in the presence of police.
police than guided the goons to pick up reporters perceived as
being pro-people and manhandle them. Those roughed up included
Padhi of Prajatantra, Smruti Ranjan of Matrubhumi, Sarat
Mangaraj of Dharitri and Arjun Nayak of Pratidin. The camera of
Padhi was also snatched away and they were all sent by the
police to Rayagada. Then the police allowed what they called
Company reporters" to proceed to cover the Bagrijhola Martyr's day
program. These reporters included Mr. Amulya
Sahoo of ETV, Mr. Ranjan
Rath associated with NDTV, Mr. Rakesh Padhi of Samaj, Mr. Subrat
Choudhary of Sambad.
IV. Dr. Jean Martinez-Alier and a solidarity team form London was also
at Tikiri and their vehicle was also stoned. They were also
manhandled by the company goons in full view of the police
passports were snatched away by the goons under instructions by
Police. The entire delegation under the leadership
of Narayan Reddy,
MLA, refused to leave the place without the passport being returned to
the foreigners. Interestingly,
the police then returned the passports,
clearly showing the nexus between the police and the goons.
talked to Dr. Martinez-Alier over phone who was
shocked at the way police and Company has behaved. He said that he had
to express his solidarity with the Kashipur movement on behalf of
Alcan't and he never expected that he will receive such
a treatment by
V. Professor Bhagabat Prasad Rath, noted Gandhian and the main
person for the Kashipur Solidarity in Rayagada, was threatened by the
OIC of Rayagada Police station that he
will be arrested since he has
given shelter to foreigners (apparently to Professor Martinez-Alier).
He shared this with
Independent Media. It may be recalled the
Professor Rath, an venerable old scholar of 75 years, was planning to
indefinite hungerstrike in protest against the police atrocities
on Kashipur tribals and was persuaded to withdraw with
the leaders of all left and progressive parties.
VI. A Dharana by left and
Progressive parties and organizations was
organized in front of the Orissa Legislative Assembly. Dharana was
by the State leaders of CPI, CPI-M, SUCI, CPI-ML, CPI-ML
(Red Flag), CPI-ML (New democracy). CPI-ML (Liberation), Samajwadi
Parishad, Loka Shakti Abhijan, Loka Pakhya and Utkal Sarvodaya
Mandal. The State President of Samajwadi party also attended
Dharana along with his collegeaues. The sitting MLA of CPM, Shri
Laxman Munda also addressed the Dharana and declared upon hearing the
news of detention of the delegation at Tikiri
police Station that a
statewide campaign will be carried out to expose the brutality of the
State and the administration
VII. List of participants in the all party delegation to Kashipur:
Narayan Reddy, MLA, CPI
• Shambhunath Nayak, MLA, SUCI
Gananath Patra, CPI(ML) State Secretary
• Shivram, CPI-ML (Red Flag) State Secretary
Abhiram Behera, CPI-M, State Committee member
• Bijay Mohanty, State Committee
• Budha Gomango, President, Loka Sangram Manch and State leader of
• Tirupati Gomango, CPI-ML(Liberation), State Committee Member
Jyoti Ranjan Mahapatra, President,AISF
• Gangadhar Mishra, Sarvodaya
Prashant Paikrai, AIYF
• Rajendra Sarangi, Convenor, Loka Pakhya
Our Comments: The events in Kashipur illustrate the hollowness of
Indian democracy and its domination
by the corporate classes. It also
shows how easily the political class and the bureaucracy can turn upon
the very people
they are mandated constitutionally to protect and
nurture. Orissa lies at the intersection of corporate globalization
the struggle for self-determination as no other State in India,
and Kashipur is in the eye of this hurricane. The people
are the vanguard of the struggle against the mercenary corporates and
global capital to save their livelihoods
and environment. They deserve
The present developments in the State indicate that the Kashipur
may have finally provided the crucible for a coming together
of left and progressive forces in the State to oppose the
industrialization and loot of the natural resources of the State by
international capital and a comprador ruling
Kashipur Alert: Sixteen Tribals, Mostly Women, Critically Injured
Lathicharge on Adivasis
Tense Standoff Between Agitated Tribals and Police in Kashipur
Independent Media Update 01/12/2004
Based on telephonic contact with correspondents in Rayagada (please refer to our earlier report on 26th Nov. 2004).
A fast developing tense standoff between adivasis (tribals) in Kashipur and district administration is being reported today
after massive lathi charge and blank firing on anti-mining tribals. Apparently, district administration led by the Collector
Dr. P. K. Meherda and the Superintendent of Police, allegedly accompanied by over 500 armed police, had gone to Karal village
to inaugurate the approach road to the proposed Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL) bauxite mine on Bapahalimali (from
Totaguda to Paikokupakhal). A nursery and a police outpost in Karal were also to be inaugurated. This was opposed by the anti-mining
adivasis - as per reports, around 400 tribals, mostly women, gathered to stop the laying of the foundation stones. In response,
the police tried to scare them away through blank fire, and then resorted to massive and indiscriminate lathi charge. The
lathi charge took place at 3:00 PM. As per the reports reaching Bhubaneswar, the tribals were beaten up badly. Around 16 people
have been critically injured and three tribal women were still unconscious at the time of reporting (6:30 PM). Over a hundred
people have been taken to Rayagada (60 km from Kashipur) for treatment.
This news has spread all over the area, and thousands of angry tribals are reported to have spontaneously gathered on the
roads and public places, armed with their traditional bow and arrows and other weapons. Meanwhile, the administration has
brought in large number of CRPF and armed police force into Kashipur. It seems that the stage is set for a bloody confrontation
between the police and the Adivasis. The situation is reported to be very tense and sources in Rayagada apprehend massive
police repression on the angry and agitated tribals.
Background: The current situation has to be seen in the context of the developments in the last few days. On 24th Nov,
2004, the Chief Minister, in the Collectors conference, gave a clear instruction that all anti-mining movements must be suppressed
with a firm hand (Dharitri, Nov 25th, 2004). Prior to that, sources in Rayagada report that the BJD Rajya Sabha MP and ex-bureaucrat
Pyari Mohan Mohaptra (deemed to the closest advisor to the Chief Minister and allegedly the kingpin of all the mining deals
in Orissa) held a meeting in Rayagada with the district administration and all Party district leadership in which he asked
them that the UAIL mining project must be launched at any cost and the opposition to the mining project must be suppressed.
This was followed by an all party meeting conducted by the District Collector, Rayagada, where all district leadership
of all political parties were called to generate support for the project. On 28th Nov. 2004, the district administration and
UAIL trucked about 5,000 people from distant places like Gunupur, Rayagada, Laxmipur, Dasmantpur etc. (ranging from 40-100
kms away from Kashipur) to hold a rally in support of the UAIL project in Tikiri village close to the project site. It is
alleged that over Rs.20 lakhs [$60,000 CDN] was spent in organizing this rally of outsiders. Very few people from the project-affected
area were present in this rally. Sources from Rayagada say that all major newspapers and journalists have been given major
advertisements by the UAIL to silence them.
It is these events that have built up to the current standoff.
It is apprehended that the whole situation has been contrived and planned by the District administration and the Company
to launch whole-scale repression on the anti-mining tribals. The tribals of the region have a long history of rebellions (called
melis) against repression, and it is apprehended that the situation may spin out of control very fast and lead to large scale
We will update the breaking story on daily basis. The current update is based on telephonic conversation with sources in
The current situation in Kashipur shows to what extent the State apparatus in Orissa is co-opted by the mining corporates,
specially as it follows the Lanjigarh bauxite mining controversy where Forest Conservation Act, 1980 has been violated in
favour of Sterlite. In the Tangarapada chromite mining lease, High Court has overturned the mining lease to Jindal Strips
Ltd. and said that the deal would have led to a revenue loss of over Rs. 20,000 crores [5.56 billion CDN] to the State. Sources
within bureaucracy allege massive kickbacks by the corporate to push through deals for stripping the mineral resources of
the State at throwaway prices. For example, in the case of bauxite being mined by UAIL or Sterlite, the total benefit to the
state would be a paltry Rs. 50 [$1.39 CDN] per tonne (the current royalty rate).
Reign of terror in Kashipur
pay the price as the CM wants to inaugurate
UAIL Plant in January, 2005
Kashipur Update 03/12/2004
District Administration and police
have unleashed a
reign of terror in the Kashipur area. The whole
proposed project area and the villages
mining project have been sealed by the administration
and police, with no press people and
allowed beyond Tikiri on the road to Kucheipadar and
the other proposed project affected villages.
situation seems to be very tense with armed police
moving around and beating up people without much
Three people namely Nabeen Naik, Lokanath
Naik and Vibhu Gouda were called by the Collector to
in order to have discussions. However, on
reaching Kashipur, they were arrested and sent to jail
of creating disturbances as far back as on
14th September, 2004..
Interestingly, it also reported that
after the brutal
lathi charge on Dec. 1 (where many people, including
women were injured, some critically),
on reaching back to Rayagada, was seen dancing in a
party. A typical case of "fiddling while
It also shows with the contempt with which Orissa's
bureaucrats hold the tribal people.
work for Police Station, Armed police
Barrack and a Company Camp office is continuing in D.
A Police Surveillance post is also
being created at the top of the hill near Nuapada Chak
to monitor the
physical movement of local people. It
has been reported to us that all these developments
have taken place
because Shri. Nabin Pattanaik, Chief
Minister wants to inaugurate the UAIL project in
have received this dispatch from an activist in who
is near the site. He wants to remain anonymous in
order to avoid harassment ( received at 08.15 PM, 3rd
"The police has turned
very aggressive. At the
slightest provocation they are beating up people.
After the first dec. incident,
I believe, they even
chased and beat up people who were returning from
and SP are camping here, in Kashipur.
They came to Tikiri again yesterday( December 02),
in Kashipur IB. Today, they have arrested Nabeeno and another boy
from Khorigaon last night. The police are all over
place, and it is anybody's guess who they will pick up
The administration has issued
declaration that any body coming in the way of the
mining will be dealt with in no uncertain
decision is that they will not fire at people, but,
they can do anything else!! ((How
They are also targeting Dec. 16th.
On the people's side, there is fear, and anger. The
might heat up after 7th Dec. as people plan to
take action against the lathicharge on that day.
are planning to book people
beginning with Bhagwan Majhi under NSA (Does that act
still exist? in any form,
what have they done to
The injured apart from the ones arrested have been
taken to the Dongasil
Health Centre according to
reports. There are broken bones, etc.
The work of the police outpost construction
going ahead with the connivance of D.Karala- the only
village where some people support the project.
It is a
Rs.7 lakhs construction project, so not something very
The 7th Dec demonstration
/rally is a crucial event
people are planning, as it is going to teach them
whether they have the strength to withstand this kind
of an onslaught. There is intention of having a jail
in solidarity with the people who are already
there. They need to plan all this very carefully, and
what are the possible fallouts /aftermath, and
how they will take it forward from there. There is
to be violence as people are bent on breaking
the police outpost construction. Which is why they
it for the 7th, and not immediately, as
there is little construction on the ground as yet!!
support side, there has to be a good press &
media coverage, which is my intention of writing to
This has to be covered on camera, and by
newspapers, local/ national etc. The state is not
stop unless it is completely discomfited. On
the other hand, people are risking much. The leaders
will be getting arrested / courting arrest
in large numbers. This is more than just the Dec.16th
is quite a do or die situation for the
people, and there has to be substantial support from
do your bit"
The situation seems to be getting out of hand with the
administration bent on breaking
movement by any means possible. It seems the
Government has forgotten the valiant
history of the
tribals of Koraput who had fought the British with
Laxman Nayak and were least cowed by the
the three tribals in Maikanch firing. Sooner or later
the matter will come to a head and the
blame will be
laid on the doors of Shri Nabin Pattanaik and the
District Collector for deliberately provoking
tribal people for the benefit of a private company.
It seems that a confrontation is inevitable
December 7th. The people are angry and will not back
down in front of state terror. They see the Project
a basic infringement of their fundamental rights
and dignity as human beings and are willing to die to
the same. The administration must desist from
this game of "chicken", for it is going to end in
of innocent people.
It seems so ironical that a CM who swears by his
"tribal friendly" identity has
turned so "corporate
friendly" at the cost of the tribal people. He should
do well to remember that
we still live in democracy,
however flawed it may be, as one of his co-student
from his illustrious school
The Resident Commissioner,
Government of Orissa,
Re: Police Repression of Movement Against UAIL, Kashipur
We, the undersigned
individuals and organizations, are extremely concerned by the continued and ongoing police repression in Raygada district,
Orissa. As you know, local tribals, and individuals organized under the banner Prakrutika Sampad Surakhya Parishad (PSSP)
have for many years now been intensely opposing the setting up of an aluminium plant, UAIL, in Kashipur.
has deteriorated for local residents recently with intensified police presence in the area, and with plans to set up a police
post and police barracks in village D. Karol near Kucheipadar. On 1 December, a group of about 300 protestors peacefully opposing
the setting up of this police post were targetted by assembled police. The protestors were abused, tear-gassed, and lathi-charged.
A number of them were injured, some seriously. And instead of being treated for injuries, a number of these protestors were
sent to police custody. All of this happened in the presence of the District Collector, Rayagada,
Pramod Kumar Meherda, and the Superintendent of Police, Rayagada, Sanjay Kumar.
Following this incident, protests have
been held in the area. Once again, instead of engaging with the people’s demands, a hallmark of a healthy democracy,
your government has simply been using fear and intimidation. The CRPF has been deployed and has been holding flag marches
in the area. The Indian Reserve Battalion and the Orissa State Armed Forces have also been deployed. Huge numbers of police
have been deployed for the last few weeks, at Tikri police station and at Karol near Kucheipadar.
Police have been roaming
the villages even at nights and picking up people, hence causing fear in the area. Private goons employed by the company have
been terrorizing people in the area. A number of people have been picked up and detained from the villages around, both on
1 December and in the days that followed. For instance:
On the night of 2 December, the police force picked up Naveen Nayak and Loknath Nayak , both committee
members of PSSP from their homes.
Bulka Miniaka, president of PSSP and convenor of the Basundhara Suraksha Samiti, was picked up from his
village Barigan, Laxmipur Block, Koraput district.
On 5 December, Duryodhan Dora of Tikrapada and Bhobani Goud of Lachhuguda were
picked up by the police from Dongasil market place. They are still in custody.
Later, Jagannath Sahu and Chitrasen Bag of Bagrijhola were arrested from Tikri
and Rayagada respectively.
On 18 Jan 2005, Trinath Majhi, Umashankar Majhi and Samrendra Majhi of Kucheipadar
were detained by the police while returning from a local market.
In short, people have also been detained both in democratic protests and in everyday situations of daily existence.
People are now terrified even to go to local haats, an age-old market institution central to people’s economic lives
and well-being. To the best of our knowledge, eighteen people from Kashipur and Laxmipur are still in custody.
We believe that police
and state repression has been intensifying in the area because plans by UAIL to start mining operations are imminent. The
powerful corporations Birla and Alcan, along with the authorities, seek to ride roughshod over opposition in the area to mining
operations. That opposition is based on the fact that such bauxite mining operations will displace people on a large scale,
destroy their homes, forests, means of sustenance, and the environment. Historically, such mining both in India and abroad
has only benefited corporations and urban elites, and local tribals and the poor pay the price.
PSSP, local tribals,
and other supporters have instead been articulating a completely different vision of development, an understanding that places
locals and the poor at the centre. For instance, the movement has instead been demanding from your government schools and
hospitals, surely a reasonable demand in a country that claims to be one of the largest democracies in the world.
Hence, we demand:
All those who have been taken in custody in Kashipur and Laxmipur be released immediately.
Any charges placed against them be dropped unconditionally.
An enquiry be held against the lathi-charge and police repression in village Karol on 1 December and subsequently
in the area. Cases be launched against the police and the company’s goons who have been terrorizing people around.
All the police and paramilitary forces currently deployed in the area be withdrawn immediately and the
police post and barracks be dismantled.
That your government cancel the MOUs given to UAIL to carry out mining operations in the area. Such permission
also be withdrawn to Sterlite’s alumina project in Lanjigarh.
Rabi Shankar (PSSP), Yogendra Yadav, Harish Dhawan, Ranjana
72, Deshbandhu Apts, I.P. Extension, Delhi
And the following organizations present at the demonstration:
1. Prakrutika Sampad Surakhya Parishad (PSSP), Orissa
2. People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Delhi
5. All India People’s Resistance Forum (AIPRF)
7. The Other Media
8. Democratic Students Union (DSU)
9. Amnesty International (India)
10. All India
Coordinating Forum of Adivasi/ Indigenous Peoples (AICFAIP)
Delhi, 1st February 2005: Protesting against the state-sponsored violence against indigenous and dalit peoples in Orissa to
facilitate the entry of mining companies into bauxite rich forest lands, members of Orissa-based struggle group Prakrutik
Sampada Surakshya Parishad (PSSP), alongwith New Delhi-based youth and human rights activists, writers and intellectuals today
submitted a memorandum to the Resident Commissioner of Orissa after a peaceful demonstration in front of the Orissa Bhavan
in New Delhi this morning. The memorandum demanded the immediate and unconditional
release of 18 PSSP members who have
been illegally arrested since December 2004 and to stop the human rights abuses by the state police on the villagers around
Kashipur who have been for years peacefully resisted the moves by bauxite mining consortium Utkal Alumina International Ltd
(UAIL) to take over their land and forests for a 100% export oriented alumina mining and refinery project.
The Rs 4500
crore UAIL is a joint venture of Indian company HINDALCO (55% share) and Canadian company ALCAN (45%). TATA, HYDRO (Norwegian)
and ALCOA (America) who were earlier part of the venture, were forced to withdraw from the project due to the mass struggle
and opposition by the villagers. The project will source bauxite from a 195 million ton deposit in Baphli Mali, a sacred hill
for the adivasis. The promoters also plan to set up an alumina refinery near Kucheipadar, from where it will be exported.
At the refinery’s capacity of consuming 9 million tones of bauxite per year, the Baphlimali deposit will be exhausted
within two decades.
The mines and refinery are slotted to come up in adivasi-majority areas that are protected by the
Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. The Fifth Schedule guarantees the right of land to adivasis, and prohibits the transfer
of these lands to non-tribals for any purpose. “The Government of Orissa is in the hands of the mining companies. Since
early December, the Government has unleashed a reign of terror in the villages near the proposed mining
project, and is
keen on evicting the people at gun-point,” said Rabi Shankar of PSSP.
On November 25, 2004 Orissa Chief Minister
Naveen Patnaik was quoted as saying that anti-mining struggles will be firmly dealt with. From late November, villages that
are protesting the Utkal Alumina project proposed on their lands have been under siege by the police.
1st , 2004, the state police launched a brutal lathi charge on 400 adivasis, mostly women, who had gathered to protest the
inauguration of a road to a proposed bauxite-mining site in Baphlimali owned by ALCAN. As a result, 16 people were critically
injured and three women were beaten unconscious. Since this incident, platoons of armed police with firing orders have occupied
Kucheipadar village – the center of the adivasi struggle. Eighteen activists of PSSP, the umbrella organization of adivasis
the struggle against bauxite mining have been picked up from their villages mostly in the night in separate incidents and
are now in jail without access to bail.
“This is not the first time that adivasis of Kashipur are facing such
state repression and police brutality,” said Rabi Shankar. On December 16, 2000, three adivasis were killed in Kashipur
when police fired on unarmed villagers associated with the people’s struggle against bauxite mining. Following international
outrage at the incident, one of UAIL’s original stakeholders, Norsk Hydro of Norway, withdrew from the project in a
that clearly implicated both the UAIL and the Orissa government.
The situation in rest of Orissa is not very
different. As many as five bauxite mining and alumina projects are in the pipeline, covering 5 blocks of 3 districts -- Kashipur
( Rayagada district) , Luxmipur and Dasamantpur ( Koraput), Lanjigada and Thuamulrampur (Kalahandi). Sterlite is proposed
to source bauxite from Sasubohu mali of Kashipur block. Larson and Tubro from Sijimali and Kutrumali ( Kashipur block), Birla
from Kodinga Mali ( Luxmipur block) and Vedanta from Niyamgiri and Khandual mali of Kalahandi district.
total investment in the Orissa bauxite projects is to the tune of Rs 20,000 crores. Taking into consideration the present
price of even just UAIL, the joint venture will reap a profit of at least Rs 2,88,000 crore during the 22-23 years of the
project life, whereas the government will get Rs. 1300-1400 crores as royalty during that period. And the adivasis and dalits
of these villages will get state repression, and a lifetime of misery
and slum life,” added Ranjana Padhi of Saheli
Women's Resource Centre, Delhi, a group supporting the Kashipur peoples’ struggle.
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY
257, Kaveri Hostel, JNU,New Delhi-67
Call to Stop State Repression in Orissa in the name of Development
New Delhi; 01.02.2005:
voice of people of Kashipur block of Raygada district of Orissa protesting against the HINDALCO Alumina Company which has
been given the lease to extract bauxite and against the state repression got echoed in JNU campus on the 29th of
January. In a public meeting organized by the organization JUHAAR in JNU, the president of Orissa Rajya Krushaka Sanghathan
and a former student of JNU, Lingaraj, spoke on the unleashing the reign of terror
on the peaceful tribal people by the HINDALCO Alumina Company with the connivance of the Orissa government. He also questioned
the existing model of development where there is no concern for the rich bio-diversity and the life and livelihood of the
people of Kashipur.
Braving the chilly winter a
large number of students participated in the interactive session following the talk.
The meeting was chaired by
the president of the organization Sujit
Kumar Pruseth and assisted by Narendra Padhan and Prakash Chandra Dash and was attented by Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy, documentary film maker Sanjay Kak, noted social activist from Benaras Aflatoon and many academicians from JNU and BHU.